Does a genetic child bring something an adopted one doesnt?

I’m back, but busy at work today, so this may be disjointed.

In terms of expecting, both are fairly invasive experiences, but one is physically very invasive (pregnancy) where the other has a social worker evaluating your life (do you have good relationships with your parents? What religion are you? How clean is your house?). Both are mindwracking and stressful in different ways. Adopting does have some benefits - you can turn down a child if they have special needs, for instance - with birth you take what you get. Pregnancy is physically stressful for a lot of people. There is something really amazing about creating a life though - its the ultimate in “hey, look what I made!”

Delivery was way easier with adoption.

Post delivery. Bonding is a sore point for me (sorry). I had PPD with my daughter, that really isn’t conducive to the whole “auto bonding” that is supposed to be so magical. I also didn’t sleep. My water broke at 1am after a fairly restless “sleep” - I gave birth at 1pm, I didn’t sleep more than two hours at a time until I was home from the hospital. On the other hand, whatever parent child bond that happens automagically happened when my son opened his eyes and smiled at us at the airport. (He was delivered to us, we first saw him at the airport).

The whole pre-natal bonding thing. Pregnancy can be a pain in the ass (literally, she’s eleven years old and I still have hemorrhoids). It can also be wonderful. It isn’t at all uncommon or unnatural to have some very mixed feelings about the “wonder of pregnancy.” Add in a difficult labor and delivery and postpartum depression and you can lose that whole “magical” side of this. I’m not saying that magical instant bond never happens, but if you are dependent on it happening in order to create a parent-child bond - that’s a problem. And for Dads, it isn’t a guarantee either. It isn’t unheard of for Dad to be resentful of losing his wife to a pregnancy (plus labor, delivery, breastfeeding, and baby). Dad isn’t getting that influx of hormones from birth, he’s got to bond on his own regardless of how baby arrives. You don’t get to put your hand on your wife’s tummy to feel hiccups when you adopt - we did however, get a picture of a 3 month old baby in a little blue sleeper to bond with before arrival.

Here is the difference for us. You do have a genetic tie to your child. She has my nose. She has her dad’s intellectual gifts. She loves to read like my husband and I. She is a natural born geek. My adopted son doesn’t have those ties back to us. But she also reflects back at us all those things we dislike in ourselves - she daydreams like I do and can’t stay focused. She is stubborn like her dad. That genetic tie isn’t 100% gift - there is definitely an element to “you remind me so much of your damn father when you do that!” That isn’t there with my son. He is musical (where did that come from!) and organized (no one else is!) and athletic (everyone else in the house is jealous). His gifts - and his challenges (he doesn’t like to read, what a strange person) - belong to him alone. They don’t carry baggage. And, at the same time, we do take credit for his gifts that reflect back on us. His sense of humor he shares with my Dad.

I do love my kids differently - because they are different children. But that has nothing to do with how they arrived - it has to do with them being individuals.

Bonding is not automatic no matter how you have kids - on your side or theirs. Attachment disorder is more common with adopted kids - particular when they are adopted past about a year or so and spent a lot of time institutionalized - but even then, the vast majority of adopted kids do fine and attachment disorder isn’t unknown in kids raised in their bio families. When we adopted (and this seems to be common) the agency worked with us so we could reduce potential risk. You get a lot more “professional support” adopting than you will get giving birth (but you’ll get plenty of “non-professional busy body advice” no matter what you do.) Also, parenting your kids and creating a relationship with your kids (my son is in middle school this year, and this is being driven home) - is a lifelong task - not something that happens in a moment in a hospital room.

To address sandra_nz’s point. My parents have three bio kids. My baby sister went through rehab and as part of the process, we had to go through a week of intensive family therapy. She’s never felt “part of the family.” She was the tail end child, she always thought she was a “mistake” (she wasn’t, although I think only the second was planned, I arrived seven months after my parents wedding). She sees herself as a different person than our family - and in a lot of ways she is. She has more in common with my father’s mother (who didn’t get along with my own mother) than with “us.” She’s athletic, none of us ever were - I don’t think I’ve ever seen my dad watch a sport that isn’t golf. She’s an extrovert. My dad is - but the rest of us are introverts. She’s emotionally intense and shares it - the rest of us follow the German “bottle up your feelings” model with a dose of pragmatism. And we are a strange family…none of us really share interests. We are close, but not tight. She fixated on the differences between herself and the rest and felt left out. Now almost three years sober, I think she’s realized that she was projecting a lot. But being a bio child does not grant a ticket to “feeling like you belong.”

Haven’t had that or seen it in my experiences. Not saying it doesn’t happen, but it isn’t a given.

Apparently, judging by the Internet, having a genetic child brings an overwhelming compulsion to tell other people your experience is uniquely special and whatever they think they are experiencing is less important.

Hey, that isn’t just the domain of people with genetic children! Parents of adopted children will also bore you to tears with the importance and uniqueness of their special snowflake. The upside is that there are generally no ultrasound pictures.

This is not my experience. It may happen in some families, but it is not universal.

The fact that my husband’s side of the family would never, under any circumstances, accept an adopted child as a “real” part of the family was actually a factor in us deciding not to adopt. It wasn’t the only factor, but really, the treatment any child we adopted would have gotten from them would have probably been worse than their reaction to a stranger. They’re pretty nasty to their own genetic relatives, which is proof that being genetically related is no guarantee of acceptance, either. The difference is that with adoption we knew going in there would be no way for the kid to be accepted. When idea was raised in a very tentatively manner once several family members immediately started speculating as to how under such circumstances they could challenge any will leaving anything to such an “intruder”, as that person wouldn’t be a “real” child.

Sometimes I hate my in-laws.

Dangerosa, that was a beautiful post.

My 2nd ex had three girls from her previous marriage and I had my daughter. I didn’t think it would be possible to love her children as much as my own but I honestly felt that I did.

I was fondest of her youngest daughter who was seven and my daughter was five only because I spent more time with her than the other girls who were older (11-13).

Some people who have both also say the bond is not the same. Or developed differently.

The Jay…By the way, I’m assuming you are a gay man (you might mean something else by “my sexuality” or be female, but the indications seem to be there to support that assumption). Read Dan Savage’s book “The Kid: What Happened When My Boyfriend and I Decided to Get Pregnant.” Its funny, seems pretty honest, and actually talks a lot about some adoption realities regardless of if you are straight or gay.

And if you are an asexual woman, read it anyway. Unless you are easily disturbed by Dan Savage’s typical sexual bluntness.

We had two biological kids the old-fashioned way, and I can say that it took me a while to bond with them - especially the first. Certainly for the first couple of weeks I felt responsible for but not emotionally attached to my son. But that certainly changed after a while.

I only got the one kind, so I wouldn’t know.

My semi-educated guess is that different children, whatever the source of the difference, bring different things. Daughters bring different things from sons; one birth child will be very different from another.

My cousin has five kids - three birth sons and two adopted daughters. The daughters are birth sisters to each other as well. The girls, although beautiful (of course) don’t resemble each other at all - if you saw them on the street you would never know they were sisters.

And I have had the experience of seeing my kids do something that I do, or talk like I do.

Only when completely justified.

Did I mention my son is acing his college math course?


Mine, the stellar athlete is failing gym. (Its middle school, it was swimming. He was going to have to get completely undressed).

My thoughts are similar. I too am adopted (or “hatched” as we kid my sister) I once had a poem that ended,“You didn’t grow under my heart, but in it.” Though as a kid, I did look alot like my younger brother (we look NOTHING alike now)

Yeah, the kids being adopted doesn’t make me think they are any less special in the least.

(Of course that is because they are the smartest, most well-behaved kids imaginable. Just last night…)

That hasn’t been the case in my family.

It’s interesting to hear your perspective, because I’m adopted and haven’t had that feeling at all in my family. Goes to show that it’s really hard to generalize about adoption, how adopted people feel, how adoptive parents feel, how the extended family feels, etc. A lot of it has to do with the specific people involved and the circumstance, which is what makes questions like the OPs really hard to answer.

sandra_nz, I don’t know anybody who doesn’t feel like they don’t quite belong in their own family, one way or another.

I know one woman whose family disowned her when she adopted a child of another race. They probably would have done the same if she had borne a mixed-race child herself, though. Other than her, I have known no other family who had trouble with relatives accepting the child as one of them.

Pardon the simplicity of this response, especially coming from a gay guy with no kids or plans or desire to have them, but…

You don’t have to look very far to find biological parents, mothers and or fathers, who have no bond with their kid. Especially fathers of course: an estimated 25 million kids live apart from their biological fathers, of whom about 6.25 million don’t even live in the same state as their father.
While certainly there are extenuating circumstances in many millions of those cases- e.g. father dearly loves his child/ren but circumstances make it impossible for him to live in the same home- there are also millions of cases where the father either doesn’t give a shit or doesn’t give enough of a shit to inconvenience himself.

Many mothers abandon their kids or, worse, stay around but are unconcerned and shitty mothers to them. Almost impossible to know the stats on the “less maternal than the average cat” personality of mothers but we all know somebody who fits the bill, and as with absentee fathers it’s not limited to any particular socioeconomic class.

At the same point most of us have people in our lives who we are not biologically related to- whether a spouse or lover or just very close friends- who are dearer to us than our biological relatives. I don’t hate my brother or his family but if they called me at 8:00 p.m. on a Saturday and asked me to “come down, it’s important” I would have to have them explain to me exactly what and why I needed to make the trip there for; I have at least three friends who if they called me at 4:00 a.m. on a morning before an important meeting and said “I need you to meet me by the old abandoned railroad bridge, I can’t explain now but wear black, turn off your headlights a mile before you get there and bring a meat saw” I’d be on my way.

I really don’t think you could raise a child from infancy and still much give a damn if it has the same ancestors and genetic predispositions you have. In fact it’s sort of horrifying to think of some of the prevalent traits in my family surrounding me in younger form in my old age. I’ve known way too many people over the years who who truly make no distinction between their stepkids and biological kids and too many people who seem to have chosen their families more than take the one they were genetically assigned to put much emphasis on biological component of bonding. With my siblings and cousins the main thing that we share that holds us in any kind of contact with each other is a past, and a past is made of memories and that’s what you’ll be making with an adopted kid.

But then I could be wrong.

Sampiro, that was a wonderful post and summarizes my thoughts and feelings on the subject in a way that I could never post. Thank you.